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Why the GameStop frenzy may hurt retirees along with hedge funds

Finance
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesReddit users and other retail investors who piled into GameStop stock aimed to take down Wall Street.Pension funds, which support ordinary Americans in retirement, may be an unintended casualty.Some hedge funds have sustained big losses as a result of bets against GameStop stock. Melvin Capital, for example, lost more than 50% in January.But pension plans — which invest assets on behalf of workers like teachers and police officers — may hold big positions in hedge funds. That means a financial hit for hedge funds could spill over to workers' retirement assets."Your 'eat the rich' mentality just took a bite out of the pension funds of working Americans," Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America, said of Game...

A new COVID-19 challenge: Mutations rise along with cases

Technology
The race against the virus that causes COVID-19 has taken a new turn: Mutations are rapidly popping up, and the longer it takes to vaccinate people, the more likely it is that a variant that can elude current tests, treatments and vaccines could emerge.The coronavirus is becoming more genetically diverse, and health officials say the high rate of new cases is the main reason. Each new infection gives the virus a chance to mutate as it makes copies of itself, threatening to undo the progress made so far to control the pandemic.On Friday, the World Health Organization urged more effort to detect new variants. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a new version first identified in the United Kingdom may become dominant in the U.S. by March. Although it doesn’t cause more se...
COVID-19 discriminates along racial, socioeconomic lines, study finds

COVID-19 discriminates along racial, socioeconomic lines, study finds

Health
May 15 (UPI) -- Black people, poor people and those living in densely populated areas are up to four times more likely to test positive for COVID-19, an analysis published Friday by The Lancet has found. The study, conducted by British researchers and focusing on trends in the United Kingdom, echoes reports of similar demographic disparities in the United States. "It's important to know which groups in the wider community are most at risk of infection so that we can better understand SARS-CoV-2 transmission and how to prevent new cases," study co-author Dr. Simon de Lusignan, of the University of Oxford, said in a press release. As of Friday afternoon, more than 1.4 million Americans have been infected with the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and more than 86,000 have died from COVID-19, th...
Plastic threads found in oysters, clams along Oregon coast

Plastic threads found in oysters, clams along Oregon coast

Science
Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Microplastics are showing up inside clams and oysters on the coast of the Pacific Northwest. New research out of Oregon suggests the majority of the pollution inside bivalves is comprised of microthreads. Synthetic threads are used in a variety of products, but they're especially common in pieces of recreational clothing -- fleece jackets, yoga pants and other forms of outerwear and athletic gear. "These microfilaments can be shed from clothing, up to 700,000 per load of laundry," Britta Baechler, a doctoral student at Portland State University in Oregon, said in a news release. "Those particles then travel out through greywater into wastewater and to the coast." For the new study, published this week in the journal Limnology and Oceanography Letters, scientists collecte...
North, South begin clearing away landmines along Korean border

North, South begin clearing away landmines along Korean border

World
SEOUL, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- North and South Korean authorities began removing landmines along the border on Monday as part of the process to ease military tensions, agreed in the third inter-Korean summit. Seoul's defense ministry said it will start removing landmines in the Joint Security Areas to disarm one of the most heavily guarded areas on the border, according to South Korean media Kyunghyang Sinmun. The North and South will then withdraw guard posts and soldiers, as well as surveillance and firing equipment from the area -- a symbolic step to end hostilities from the 1950-53 Korean War. The North and South also began to clear mines on an old battleground in the Demilitarized Zone before they launch a joint excavation for remains of soldiers who died in the Korean War. ...